What is the difference between the Human Services major and the Psychology major?

Both the Human Services and Psychology majors deal with the study of human behavior. The Psychology major tends to emphasize the "scientific" aspects of that study, and the Human Services major tends to emphasize the "applied" aspects. In Psychology students are required to take a number of courses on statistics and research methods, as well as their elective courses on abnormal psychology, organizational psychology, etc. Human Services also requires statistics and research methods courses, and it emphasizes applied courses and fieldwork experiences.

Originally, the Psychology major was designed primarily to prepare students for graduate programs in psychology, while the Human Services major was designed to prepare students for work in human services settings immediately upon graduation with a bachelor's degree. However, in actuality, students from both majors find employment upon graduation, and students from both attend graduate school.

There are structural differences between the two majors. Human Services is a single subject major requiring 57 units and no minor. Psychology is a regular major of 36 units, and a minor is required. Human Services is a major (founded in 1973), while Psychology is perhaps better known.

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Which should I major in, Human Services or Psychology?

Only you can make this choice, and you need to examine your interests, abilities, and career aspirations. If you enjoy studying people, are strong in math and science, and want to be a researcher, professional psychologist, or college professor, then perhaps Psychology is the major for you. If you enjoy working with people, then Human Services may be the way to go.

If you are still undecided, then you can take comfort in the fact that you can most likely use either major to take you wherever you want to go. Psychology majors can take applied courses and fieldwork as electives. Again, graduates of both major’s end up employed or going to graduate school.

Both majors qualify you to enter a variety of graduate programs. If an advanced degree is your definite goal, it is wise to check with the graduate school you prefer regarding entrance requirements and to take those as electives. Students who are definite about pursuing a doctoral degree should major in Psychology. Students who want to work right after graduation could choose Human Services.

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What are the prospects for future employment in Human Services?

As with any major, future employment prospects for Human Services majors ultimately depend on the overall economy and the political context. When the economy goes down, social problems increase, so that business for the helping professions goes up. However, money to pay for such needed services goes down with the economy. With the aging of the U.S. population, the need for human services will increase. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicted that human services will grow by 28% from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations.

As you take courses and gain fieldwork experience, think about what special skills may be needed in the future. It is clear that bilingual people will be much needed in the future. Already, bilingual counselors are paid about 25% more than monolinguals. Signing counselors for the deaf are also needed. With the baby boomers aging, there will be greater demand in future for people to work with the elderly and in healthcare settings. With our current society's emphasis on punishing rather than preventing crime, coupled with lack of opportunity and unemployment, corrections is another growth industry.

Students must accept responsibility for figuring out how the future needs of society can be addressed with their interests and skills. You may find that you will frequently change jobs within and between organizations and that you need constantly to develop new skills. You may find you will need training in specific areas not available in the major, such as computer skills or knowledge of substance abuse treatments. You should try to take advantage of the many workshops and training courses available both on and off campus. Learning is a life-long process.

The advantage of the Human Services major is that it prepares students for many possibilities so that they can respond to changes in the economy, the health care system, and society. The Human Services major offers a sound grounding in thinking about human problems and how to solve them. Critical thinking, people skills, problem-solving, and flexibility will definitely be needed in the future.

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What courses should I take next semester?

Planning a class schedule for a specific semester is an important responsibility for students. Some students from community colleges are used to being told what courses to take. However, at the University and with telephone registration, you are responsible for planning and deciding what courses to take yourself.  Hence, having a plan is important.  Here is a general strategy for planning a good class schedule. First, buy the catalog, read it carefully, and know all the requirements you must complete for your degree. Second, make a general plan of what you need to take each semester and in what order so that you can finish prerequisites and complete all the requirements for your degree in a timely manner. Understand that not all courses for the major can be offered day and evening every semester.

Then should you examine the upcoming semester's class schedule. Draw a time by day schedule on a piece of paper. Cross out times and days you cannot attend because of work, childcare, whatever. Look through the class schedule for courses that meet degree requirements AND are offered at a time you can attend, making sure that you have necessary prerequisites. Plan a good schedule on your time-day chart, and then --here's your second piece of Really Good Advice--ALWAYS plan an alternative schedule, in case you can't get into the classes you prefer.

Human Services majors should take courses from each component of the program every semester, some core courses, some electives, and one fieldwork course. A beginning full-time junior should take a core course or two, an elective course, HUS 300 from the fieldwork component, and an upper division integrative studies course.

An important part of planning is to make sure you take the fieldwork courses in order. Your first or second semester here as a junior, you will take HUS 300. After that, you will take HUS 380/381, next you will take HUS 390/391.  Last, you will take HUS 480/481.

It is theoretically possible to complete the upper division requirements for the Human Services major in four semesters. However, few students finish so quickly. The national average for a bachelor's degree is around five (5) years now.  Many events beyond your control, such as illness or accidents or changes in work schedules, may make you take longer than planned to graduate, but you are not alone and you should not give up. Careful planning, having alternate schedules, and taking classes in inter-session or summer school will help you graduate in a timely manner. Remember the Really Good Advice about taking your time to graduate.

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Which courses can I transfer in for credit for the major?

The answer to this question involves understanding two distinctions. First, students need to understand the difference between lower division and upper division courses. Lower division courses are offered at community colleges and in the freshman and sophomore years at universities. Upper division courses are offered only at universities, usually in the junior and senior years. By law, lower division courses cannot count for upper division unit credit.

The second distinction involves subject credit versus unit credit. If you take a course at community college in the same subject offered in upper division at CSUDH, you can get subject credit for it, but not unit credit. You do not have to take the subject over, but you must substitute some other upper division course for units in order to have enough total upper division units to graduate in the major.

If students have taken upper division psychology courses at other universities, they may or may not be transferable for both unit and subject credit. The Program Coordinator is the only person who can evaluate and approve upper division courses from other universities.

WARNING:  Please see the school catalog for limits on the number of units that can be transferred in and the minimum required number of units in residence.

There is one exception to all of this.  Human Services majors may take a human anatomy course at community college, and it will count for both subject credit and unit credit towards the major, because this is the only lower division course in the entire major. The Human Services major at CSUDH requires a total of 54 units, 3 lower division units and 51 upper division units. You must end up with a minimum of 51 upper division units in Human Services courses in order to graduate.

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What are Community College Equivalents to BIO 250 at CSUDH?

Please see an advisor in the College of Health, Human Services and Nursing to determine equivalents.

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What is an “advising hold”?

Developmental advising should be an on-going, consistent part of your overall educational experience. It is not something you do quickly, at the last minute before you register for classes. It is a constant process that involves setting and monitoring goals for your educational development, planning, exploring your options, keeping yourself informed of requirements, and keeping track of your educational progress and its relation to your goals. To ensure that this process is a part of your educational experience, you cannot register for classes until you go for advising and get your hold lifted.

Advising and hold-lifting will be completed in your fieldwork courses. If you are not taking fieldwork one semester, be sure to see the Program Coordinator or before you want to touchtone register. When you are on the phone registering for classes, you will not be able to get advice or questions answered. It is better to plan in advance. Don't forget the second piece of Really Good Advice: Always plan an alternate schedule.

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Which electives should I take?

Since the Human Services core courses provide a broad interdisciplinary background of skills and knowledge, the elective portion of the program is supposed to provide you with the opportunity to specialize in target populations or methods of intervention. So please look at the current University Catalogue for a list of approved elective courses for the Human Services major.

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How can I get better grades?

Go to CLASS, obtain tutoring, or use the SQ3R study method.

To start with the obvious, schedule your study time and keep up with the reading. Many textbooks have an accompanying study guide, get it and use it.

Use the SQ3R study method. You will probably resist doing this because this or other systematized methods are so different from your usual study methods and appear to be very time-consuming. Students report that an alarming number of you share the same study "method": wait until you have nothing else to do, lie down on a comfortable sofa with plenty of food and drink at hand, turn on the TV or some music, and read a chapter, highlighting if you feel like it. This will not get you a better grade.

FIRST, survey the material to be read. Read the table of contents, learning objectives, chapter summary. This gives you a roadmap of the material. Surveying the material to be read prepares you for what is coming. If you know what to expect in advance, you can deal with new information in a more efficient manner than if it is presented with no warning.

SECOND, question the material. Ask questions of yourself when you encounter unfamiliar material (i.e., Id? what's that? How do you pronounce it?). By questioning what you don't know, you set yourself to look for the answers and to be prepared for the input of new information.

THIRD, read the assignment. Yes, only now do you actually start to read the material. Now you are ready. Because of the preceding survey and question preparation, some of the material will now be familiar and when learned again, becomes overlearned, a memory aid. As you read, break the chapter down into logical, manageable chunks. For each chunk, read, recite, and review, as described below.

FOURTH, recite the material to yourself in the most meaningful way for you. The recitation requirement will motivate you to read actively and select the most relevant information. The active rehearsal of information also makes it more likely that information will be transferred from short-term to long-term memory. Although recitation can consist of repeating the material to yourself, you can also take notes, so they can be used in the next step and for review for exams.

FIFTH, review what you have read and recited. Reviewing is important because it interferes with the forgetting process and contributes to overlearning.

SIXTH, this is perhaps the most important step:  If you don’t understand the materials, go see your instructor during his/her office hours to get help.

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When it finally comes time to graduate, what do I do?

TWO semesters BEFORE your planned graduation date, you must "file for graduation." The deadline is listed in the current schedule of classes and the current University catalog. You need to get a graduation application card from the registrar, pay a fee to the cashier, and file the card by the deadline. In addition, you need to fill out a graduation advisement form with your Department, so the registrar can check that you have completed all the requirements.

  • TO GRADUATE IN SPRING: File and pay between Apr15-Sep 15. Do graduation advisement form by Oct 15.
  • TO GRADUATE IN FALL: File and pay between Feb l5 -Apr l5. Do graduation advisement form by May l6.
  • TO GRADUATE IN SUMMER: File and pay between Nov 15 -Feb 15. Do graduation advisement form by May 15.

Since these deadlines are so far in advance of graduation, students may not know what they will be able to take and must commit to a course on the form that they end up not taking and having to take something else. Then you must file a revision of advisement form, for which there is no fee. Do the revision of advisement a month before you really will be graduating.

Many students end up graduating later than the date they filed for. If this is the case, you must change your graduation date by filing a "Change of Graduation Date" form and paying $10. You should do this in the middle of the semester you had intended to graduate in. You will not be allowed to register for more classes until this is done.

Filling out the graduation advisement form completely and accurately and filing any necessary revisions are crucial, because the registrar follows this form judiciously and literally in determining whether you will be awarded your degree or not. Be sure to put a copy of this form in your student portfolio. You must see the Program Coordinator for assistance with your graduation advisement form, and you MUST have your portfolio and proof of having paid the filing fee with you!

If you complete all the requirements for your degree in the spring semester, you attend the graduation ceremony at the end of the spring semester. If you complete your requirements in fall, you attend the following spring's ceremony. If, however, you have only one or two courses left to complete in summer school or the following fall semester, you may still attend the spring graduation before completing the one or two courses. Be sure to order your cap and gown (useful for future costume parties) on time. CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK!!!

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